Humanitarian air drops ‘very concrete proposal,’ says UN Special Envoy for Syria

NEW YORK, 19th February, 2016 (WAM) -- Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, has said that the idea of air drops to locations that have yet to be reached "has become a very concrete proposal."

The UN official made the statement following the United Nations inter-agency convoys completed the delivery of humanitarian aid to more than 80,000 Syrians in five besieged towns.

"We are quite pleased about the fact that [humanitarian assistance] was able to reach 82,000 people," he told reporters following a conference call in Geneva with the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), comprising the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations, and 17 countries.

It was the second time since last week that Mr. de Mistura discussed with representatives of the ISSG humanitarian access issues. Despite aid being delivered to some besieged areas of Syria thanks to the cessation of hostilities agreement reached last week in Munich, it is only the "beginning of the task" assigned to the group, according to the envoy’s Special Advisor, Jan Egeland.

"We discussed the next phase, which is to reach all of the remaining besieged areas of Syria and we should be able to do so before the next meeting, which will be in a week," he informed the press in his capacity as co-chair of the task force on humanitarian access established by the ISSG.

"We hope that the Member States in the ISSG will continue helping us as they have on the government side, as well as on the opposition groups side so that we can make further progress in access to the people of Syria, which of course have waited too long for relief and which we have in many ways failed for too long as an international community," the Special Advisor said.

Jakob Kern, Head of the World Food Programme in Syria, said the delivery of relief marks a "major humanitarian breakthrough," but stressed that "one-off and sporadic convoys can only provide temporary relief to hungry, desperate people."


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